Summer of Hate

Fat Possum

There’s like this fucking beautiful, black, vile renaissance going on right now with violent squall and scree blasted out by the likes of Wavves, Blank Dogs, Crystal Stilts, Place to Bury Strangers, and now Crocodiles, that is dirty as filthy fingernails and so fucking fun, despite immersion in all the negative parts of life. Crocodiles, god, so good. First off they’re a duo, like Suicide, Royal Trux, Kills, always a good sign. Charles Rowell plays guitar and synth while Brandon Welchez handles vocals and other programming. Their Summer of Hate is an album that borrows cleverly from touchstones like the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Automatic and Spacemen 3’s Recurring — both bands that are readily pilfered, to be sure, but not these particular “difficult” phases of their respective careers.

Going back to the Recurring comparison, Crocodiles realize that Sonic Boom’s naive synth experiments and childlike hymns were every bit as important as roaring psych-outs like “Walking With Jesus.” And every other band seems to miss that point! And our daring duo has just the slightest dash of pop instincts — or rather the knowledge that keeping it simple and quick is what makes a great tune. Summer of Hate is twelve blood-simple blasts of electro-injected, skeletal scuzz-pop. Most of the songs sound woozy and disorienting like Suicide being drowned in an ornate claw-footed bathtub. Sneering, adenoidal, cavernous little-boy-lost vocals phase in and out over fistfight-metronome drum machines and guitars that alternately slash ‘n’ squeal (I love the song where the solo is just two guitars feeding back over a rhythm track) or float disembodied, slightly out of sync with the rest of the song in glorious one-chord drones. And sometimes the guitars just drop completely out, and the band blisses out, harmonizing wide-eyed and open-mouthed with ancient, pulse-beat synths. Glorious!

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